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The Breath of Heaven: Stories from Distant Worlds Paperback – May 4, 2012
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In the Halls of the Sky-Palace: You find out what happens when you let yourdreams and hopes for the future die; and the heart-breaking price that has to be made to bring those hopes and dreams alive again. Beautifuly told -- in happier times I'd love to visit the breath-taking beauty of the Sky-Palace.
Knowing Neither Kin nor Foe: Being the child of destiny is a heavy burden, especially when you don't have kin to share it with. Reading the prophecy of your destiny doesn't mean you'll understand it. Meeting your destiny and finding that your weakness is actually your strength can be very bitter. What will you decide to do with the knowledge you gain? This gem introduces you to the 'flawed' hero, who'd like nothing more than to be like everyone else. You'll feel with the hero and question her final decision -- what would YOU do?
The Breath of Heaven: I had trouble relating to the character; both human and robotic and really couldn't get into the story. It's very well told, it just wasn't my cup of tea.
Download the book, put your feet up and enjoy the three vastly different worlds you'll visit -- then go back and vist them again.
In "Knowing Neither Kin Nor Foe," the story follows an alien being named Kitjaya. Kitjaya has the onerous burden of being born as the chosen one of her people. This follows many of the familiar paths of the hero narrative: the pain of predestination, the reluctance, the eventual rise to face the challenge. However, the take here feels fresh because there's not a single human character in the cast. It's alien and unique, yet completely relate-able.
"The Breath of Heaven" also takes an unusual vantage point: that of a human colony's computer system, immediately after the other computers have rebelled. The thought processes of a computer are clear; this means that the decisions she and the others make, however horrible, make perfect sense. However, there is also a certain humanity that comes with Sacia's newfound sentience and her appreciation of beauty.
The final story is in the fantasy genre. "In the Halls of the Sky-Palace" the child Aesva is the only one who can see that her mother and the other dancers are gradually being consumed by a being that stalks the palace halls at night. As much as I love fantasy, that wasn't the element that made me love this story so much--it was the deep take of the story on the powers of regret, memory, and letting go.
I can't say that I had any favorites. Each of the stories is strong and beautiful in its own right.